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Reaching The Goal: How Managers Improve a Services Business Using Goldratt's Theory of Constraints [Hardcover]

John Arthur Ricketts
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Book Description

Nov. 2 2007

“There is no doubt that this is a truly original and groundbreaking work in applying the Theory of Constraints. I run a services company and learned some things about the services business. Anyone involved in large services companies needs to look at what John is proposing. I will definitely quote this material frequently.”

Chad Smith, Managing Partner, Constraints Management Group

 

“The information presented in this book is badly needed by service providers who struggle to balance supply and demand with their resources.”

Carol A. Ptak, CFPIM, CIRM

 

“The techniques that John brings to light in this book are the bridge from the vision of Dr. Goldratt’s work to the successful implementation in a range of services firms.”

From the Foreword by Erik Bush, Vice President, IBM Global Services 

  • Discover the powerful Theory of Constraints (TOC), and use it to drive continuous performance improvement in any services organization
  • Identify the hidden constraints that are limiting your organization, and manage or eliminate them
  • Use TOC to improve the way you manage resources, projects, processes, finance, marketing, and sales
  • Determine whether your organization faces an internal or external constraint, manage that constraint accordingly, and anticipate where the next constraint will arise
  • Release latent capacity shrouded by common business practices
  • Simplify processes that have grown unmanageably complex
  • Optimize your enterprise as a whole rather than suboptimizing individual business units
  • Get buy-in to fundamental changes in strategy, tactics, and operations

 Managing services is extremely challenging, and traditional “industrial” management techniques are no longer adequate. In Reaching the Goal, Dr. John Arthur Ricketts presents a breakthrough management approach that embraces what makes services different: their diversity, complexity, and unique distribution methods.

 

Ricketts draws on Eli Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints (TOC), one of this generation’s most successful management methodologies...thoroughly adapting it to the needs of today’s professional, scientific, and technical services businesses. He reveals how to identify the surprising constraints that limit your organization’s performance, execute more effectively within those constraints, and then loosen or even eliminate them.

 

This book’s relentlessly practical techniques reflect several years of advanced IBM research and consulting with enterprise clients. Step-by-step, Ricketts shows how to apply them throughout your most crucial business functions...from project management to finance, process improvement to sales and marketing.

 

Whatever your role in improving service delivery, processes, or profitability, this book gives you the tools to reach your goals...and go beyond them 

  • Identify, manage, and overcome your key constraints

    Five steps to uncovering and addressing the real obstacles to improved performance

  • Optimize core business functions, one step at a time

    Improve the way you manage resources, projects, processes, finance, and marketing

  • Implement TOC rapidly and effectively

    Get buy-in, deploy infrastructure, and provide the right IT support?

 

 


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From the Back Cover

“There is no doubt that this is a truly original and groundbreaking work in applying the Theory of Constraints. I run a services company and learned some things about the services business. Anyone involved in large services companies needs to look at what John is proposing. I will definitely quote this material frequently.”

Chad Smith, Managing Partner, Constraints Management Group

 

“The information presented in this book is badly needed by service providers who struggle to balance supply and demand with their resources.”

Carol A. Ptak, CFPIM, CIRM

 

“The techniques that John brings to light in this book are the bridge from the vision of Dr. Goldratt’s work to the successful implementation in a range of services firms.”

From the Foreword by Erik Bush, Vice President, IBM Global Services 

  • Discover the powerful Theory of Constraints (TOC), and use it to drive continuous performance improvement in any services organization
  • Identify the hidden constraints that are limiting your organization, and manage or eliminate them
  • Use TOC to improve the way you manage resources, projects, processes, finance, marketing, and sales
  • Determine whether your organization faces an internal or external constraint, manage that constraint accordingly, and anticipate where the next constraint will arise
  • Release latent capacity shrouded by common business practices
  • Simplify processes that have grown unmanageably complex
  • Optimize your enterprise as a whole rather than suboptimizing individual business units
  • Get buy-in to fundamental changes in strategy, tactics, and operations

 Managing services is extremely challenging, and traditional “industrial” management techniques are no longer adequate. In Reaching the Goal, Dr. John Arthur Ricketts presents a breakthrough management approach that embraces what makes services different: their diversity, complexity, and unique distribution methods.

 

Ricketts draws on Eli Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints (TOC), one of this generation’s most successful management methodologies...thoroughly adapting it to the needs of today’s professional, scientific, and technical services businesses. He reveals how to identify the surprising constraints that limit your organization’s performance, execute more effectively within those constraints, and then loosen or even eliminate them.

 

This book’s relentlessly practical techniques reflect several years of advanced IBM research and consulting with enterprise clients. Step-by-step, Ricketts shows how to apply them throughout your most crucial business functions...from project management to finance, process improvement to sales and marketing.

 

Whatever your role in improving service delivery, processes, or profitability, this book gives you the tools to reach your goals...and go beyond them 

  • Identify, manage, and overcome your key constraints

    Five steps to uncovering and addressing the real obstacles to improved performance

  • Optimize core business functions, one step at a time

    Improve the way you manage resources, projects, processes, finance, and marketing

  • Implement TOC rapidly and effectively

    Get buy-in, deploy infrastructure, and provide the right IT support?

 

 

About the Author

John Arthur Ricketts is a distinguished engineer in IBM Global Services. As a consulting partner and technical executive, he deals with business and technical issues every day. His recent experiences range from Managed Business Process Services to Maintenance and Technical Support Services.

 

He began his career in manufacturing, where he saw firsthand the problems that Theory of Constraints was created to solve. While in graduate school, he managed a research laboratory studying computer users, and he developed decision support software for the U.S. Department of State. His graduate degrees are in information systems, with supporting fields in computer science and behavioral science.

 

After graduate school, John became a professor, teaching mostly MBAs and PhDs. He also taught in advanced information systems faculty development institutes. His publications have appeared in MIS Quarterly, Interface, Information & Management, Journal of Software Maintenance, Informatica, and Computer Programming Management. The IEEE Press, Wm. C. Brown, and EDP Auditor’s Foundation have published his monographs.

 

After a decade in academia, John returned to the business world, where he led research and development of software reengineering products for a large consulting and systems integration firm. He later became director of software engineering at a major telecommunications firm.

 

Since joining IBM, he has worked in solution development, service delivery, new ventures, professional development, intellectual capital development, and asset development. John has dozens of patents pending. He has received awards from the Decision Sciences Institute and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, as well as IBM.

 


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1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time or money Feb. 15 2010
By RickC
Format:Hardcover
I've read most of Goldratt's books and was eagerly anticipating this book to show up at my door after I ordered it. Bored through the first 40 pages, I pushed and prodded myself kicking and screaming through the next boring 100 pages hoping for something of value. When I didn't find any value to that point, I skimmed over the rest of the book and found more of the same useless, mindless regurjitation of drivle. There's nothing of value in this book.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful Treatment of a Complex Topic Nov. 19 2007
By Jeff Gibbs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Thanks very much to John Ricketts for thoroughly accomplishing a very difficult task - mapping Goldratt's Theory of Constraints to a wide variety of services businesses. Goldratt's work has had its widest appication to the manufacturing world, but those of us in the services business have been speculating for years on how to apply the same concepts to the services business. Ricketts has done an admirable job in surveying the various services business models and showing how TOC can be applied to these businesses as well. As a trained TOC consultant, this now gives me a new set of openings for how to assist my services clients in attacking their critical constraints to improve their business results.

One relatively minor request - perhaps for a subsequent edition Ricketts will be able to include more real-life examples of how TOC has actually benefited various service organizations. While the little vignettes Ricketts includes in this work are helpful in exploring the potential application of TOC concepts to real world business problems, the work would have been even more compelling with some actual examples of their application. I guess we have all become so used to Goldratt's excellent use of the novel form in explaining the applications of TOC that we now expect this as a matter of course!

But overall, this is an excellent work which does a masterful job articulating the various applications of TOC to services - and I sincerely appreciate Ricketts' efforts to clarify this very important topic!
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A keeper - Nov. 30 2007
By Clarke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
TOC has an outstanding record in manufacturing and here Rickett's has cleverly adopted the TOC applications and thinking to suit service industries. I know TOC well, I work in the services industry, and I've learned a lot from reading it. It is not (imho) an easy book for TOC newbies. I'd have liked a few more concrete examples - my mind works that way, and I hope John will add those in the 2nd edition. It's a good book - I hope that in a year or so once the ideas have sunk in and I've tried them - that I'll be describing it as a classic.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Needed perspective and thinking tools March 6 2009
By Jason Cole - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I run a smallish services department within a larger company. As a relatively new services manager, I've been struggling to figure out how to improve service while managing the inherent uncertainty of a customer facing services department. This book has become a critical tool in my arsenal for thinking about how to organize the department and decide what data I need to improve services. The improvements I've started to implement are beginning to ripple through the company saving time, money and stress.

Every manager in our organization is getting a copy of this book. It will provide a common vocabulary and conceptual framework for discussing process and performance improvement efforts.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Foundations for a Science of Service Aug. 23 2008
By James C. Spohrer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Rickett's "Reaching the Goal" provides foundational insights for practitioners and researchers seeking a science of service (sometimes called the emergence of Service Science Management Engineering and Design). The author takes on the challenge of complex service businesses, including B2B (Business to Business) and PSTS (Professional Scientific and Technical Services). PSTS are the most highly customized of all services, which means that demand for these services is not easily predicted, and service delivery is not easily automated. The discussion of internal, external, and interface constraints is clear and concise. Theory of Constraints (TOC) gets its name from the fact that all enterprises are constrained by something. If they weren't, they could grow as large and as fast as they wanted. A common theme is therefore that local improvement rarely leads to global improvement, unless focused on the proper constraints at the proper time. The book guides the reader through a series of contrasting approaches: Critical Chain versus Critical Path, Throughput Accounting versus Cost Accounting, as well as others. I highly recommend this book to all faculty who are establishing service science courses or degree programs, as well as service researchers and practitioners in industry and government.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine pick for both college-level business libraries and libraries catering to managers. Jan. 4 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
REACHING THE GOAL: HOW MANAGERS IMPROVE A SERVICES BUSINESS USING GOLDRATT'S THEORY OF CONSTRAINTS explains not only the basics of TOC, but how it improves business performance, using experiences from IBM research to document using TOC in services businesses. From its basic principles to applications in different areas of business, TOC is thoroughly covered including guidelines on how to implement in an existing organizational structure, making this a fine pick for both college-level business libraries and libraries catering to managers.
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